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“My biggest regret is that we didn’t do it sooner” – Horsham event promotes fostering in West Sussex

West Sussex County Council leaders joined foster carers and care experienced young people yesterday (27 September) at Horsham’s The Capitol Theatre to support and promote fostering across the county.

Attendees heard about the challenge of finding local carers for the growing number of children in care and how the impact this has. Councillors were called upon to become Fostering Ambassadors and were able to speak to foster carers about their day-to-day experiences and the many amazing outcomes they have achieved. A photography exhibition, Through Our Eyes: Life in Care, helped to highlight the positive impact that carers have had on the lives of young people, several of whom were happy to share their personal experiences.

The event, hosted by West Sussex County Council’s Fostering team, was an opportunity to showcase a new short film to promote fostering for your Local Authority. Any Of Us is the sixth film produced by a growing partnership of councils and children’s trusts and this project will be the largest public sector fostering film collaboration yet, with over 80 participants from across the country.

Any Of Us looks at three very different, ordinary people who all show some of the attributes needed to be a foster carer in incidents from their daily lives. Each encounters a different scenario where they show the caring instinct that is fundamental to being a foster carer.

Tracy, a foster carer from Crawley said: “We wondered whether we were enough, what skills could we bring, would it be good enough? Yes, we were enough. We were able to our open hearts and our homes. We were able to comfort, reassure and support. My biggest regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.”

Councillor Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, Learning & Skills attended the event and said: “Fostering can be an incredibly rewarding experience and we desperately need more foster carers here in West Sussex. As the Any Of Us film shows, foster carers are ordinary people, just like you, who come from a range of backgrounds. The collaborative production of this film is a great example of how we are working with other Local Authorities and trusts, pulling together expertise and resources to create a powerful message that hopefully will resonate with many people.

“We urge anyone who has a spare room and an interest in helping children and young people to think about becoming a foster carer in West Sussex. We are committed to keeping children and young people safe and helping them fulfil their potential, and our foster carers are critical to this. Get in touch with our team to find out more about our comprehensive support package.”

Foster carers for West Sussex County Council receive comprehensive training, ongoing professional support and a competitive financial package of up to £28,500 a year (per child).

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